Metrograph Pictures Acquires Neo-Noir ‘Gazer’ Out of Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight

One of IndieWire’s favorite movies of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival has found a home. Metrograph Pictures has acquired the North American rights to “Gazer,” the neo-noir, heist thriller from director Ryan J. Sloan that premiered in the Director’s Fortnight sidebar at Cannes, IndieWire can reveal exclusively.

Metrograph is planning a theatrical release for the film with release plans to be announced at a later date. Financial details were not disclosed.

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IndieWire’s review raved about “Gazer,” saying it combines “the manic paranoia of ‘After Hours‘ with a ‘Memento’-esque unreliable protagonist and touches of flesh-bending body horror that could be ripped straight from ‘Videodrome.'” It offers a new spin on neo-noir and paranoia thrillers of the ’70s and ’80s, but it resists becoming pure pastiche, as our critic Christian Zilko dubbed it.

The film tells the story of a young, single mother named Frankie who suffers from a deteriorating mental condition called dyschronometria in which she’s unable to accurately process the passage of time. She’s determined to save money for her daughter, but her condition makes it hard for her to hold down basic jobs. So she decides to team up with another woman on a heist, only to become entangled in a tense web of revenge, deceit, and murder.

Sloan, who made his directorial debut on the project, self-financed “Gazer” and shot it on 16mm film, finding pockets of time to work on the movie in between shifts working a day job as an electrician. Sloan also co-wrote the screenplay with the film’s star, Ariella Mastroianni in a breakout role as Frankie.

‘Gazer’ is a movie born of cinema and those who love it,” David Laub, Head of Metrograph Pictures, said in a statement. “A brilliant homage to the unforgettable New York thrillers of the 1970s and 1980s, it also announces extraordinary new talents in Ryan J. Sloan and Ariella Mastroianni and shows definitively that all you need to create great, original movies are passion, resourcefulness, and fresh and exciting ideas. Ryan and Ariella’s approach and work deeply inspired us — we feel truly aligned with them and think ‘Gazer’ is the perfect film to be championing and releasing at Metrograph Pictures.”

“Ariella and I are beyond excited that ‘Gazer’ has found a home with Metrograph Pictures,” Sloan added in a statement. “David Laub is a true cinephile who champions filmmakers and shares our dedication to the theatrical experience. We are honored to be part of the unique vision for the future of Metrograph Pictures, a true home for movie lovers.”

Metrograph Pictures is a New York-based distributor founded in 2019 that is a sister company to the independent Metrograph Theater in NYC. In 2024 under the direction of Laub, the company ramped up its distribution arm and started picking up art house titles left and right. The distributor has bought two other films out of the Cannes Film Festival, including the Indian procedural “Santosh” from director Sandhya Suri and the crime thriller “The Kingdom” from debut director Julian Colonna, both of which premiered in Un Certain Regard. Metrograph also acquired “Good One” after its Sundance premiere, and it played alongside “Gazer” in Director’s Fortnight.

The film was self-produced by Sloan and Mastroianni through their company Telstar Films. Executive producers on the project are Sean Glass and Emily Korteweg.

UTA Independent Film Group negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Sloan and Mastroianni are represented by UTA, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz and Matthew Saver.

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